A Virgin Mary is just a glass of tomato juice. A virgin can be a sign of the zodiac, the mother of Jesus, a female insect whose egg can produce a nymph without being fertilized, a variety of apple or pear, a species of moth, or a cigarette made from Virginia tobacco. Virgin, adjective, composed of or consisting of virgins. It takes until definition six to ungender it: a person of either sex in a state of chastity. Virgin bush: not under cultivation. Virgin voyage: first attempt, initial foray. A suite of lexemes, including virga, a strip of wood, and vireo—green, flourishing, or fresh. Split at the root: she is fresh. She is new and unspoiled. She is insubordinate, impertinent, rude. Virgin, when said of wool: not yet, or only once, spun or woven. Said of olive oil: first press. Said of metal: made from ore by smelting. Said of clay: not yet fired.

Copyright © 2022 by B. K.Fischer. From My Lover’s Discourse (Tinderbox Editions, 2018). Used with permission of the author.